The study of the human fossil record
Major types of data: fossil-bearing sites, fossils, artifacts
How are fossils formed?
• Animal dies, just bones remain, trampling or tumbling occurs, covered by sediment,
petrification, erosion uncovers fossil
Sub-fossil not totally fossilized
Fossils are rare and represent a small fraction of past life
Must have unique conditions of preservation, volcano, flood, etc to fossilize
Teeth and jaws are more likely to be recovered
Taphonomy: The study of what happens to the remains of an animal from the time of
death to time of discovery
• Did damage on bones occur before or after death?
• Did scavengers have an effect on bone?
• Did bones get moved by water?
• Were cut marks made by humans or animals?
Stratigraphy: Study of the order of rock layers and the sequence of events they reflect
Sedimentary rocks are formed layer by layer
⁃ Founder of modern geology
⁃ Uniformitarianism: Geological processes going on today happened in the past
⁃ Promoted uniformitarianism
⁃ Synthesized principles of geology
• Principles of Stratigraphy
• Principle of Original Horizontality: All of Earth's layers are laid down parallel to the
Earth's gravitational field
• Principle of Superposition: Older layers are at the botton, younger layers at the top
• Principles of Cross-Cutting: Geological features that cut through existing layers
must be newer
• Principle of Faunal Succession: The Earth's fauna are laid down in predictable